THE MORNING SHOW
Dr. Jonice Webb
Running on Empty: Overcome your Childhood Emotional Neglect
Emotional Neglect is, in some ways, the opposite of mistreatment and abuse. Whereas mistreatment and abuse are parental acts, Emotional Neglect is a parent’s failure to act. It’s a failure to notice, attend to, or respond appropriately to a child’s feelings. Because it’s an act of omission, it’s not visible, noticeable or memorable. Emotional Neglect is the white space in the family picture; the background rather than the foreground. It is insidious and overlooked while it does its silent damage to people’s lives.
Children who are emotionally neglected then grow up to have a particular set of struggles. Because their emotions were not validated as children, they may have difficulty knowing and trusting their own emotions as adults. They may have difficulty understanding their own feelings, as well as others’. Because an important part of themselves (their emotional self) has been denied, they may find themselves feeling disconnected, unfulfilled or empty. They may have difficulty trusting or relying upon others. Many describe feeling that they are different from other people; like something is wrong with them, but they’re not sure what it is.
Jonice Webb has been a licensed psychologist since 1991. Dr. Webb has worked in a variety of different settings over the course of her career, including a psychiatric emergency service and substance abuse programs. She has been the Director of several large outpatient clinics. For the past eight years, she has been running her private practice in Lexington, MA. Dr. Webb specializes in the treatment of couples and families.
Over two decades of practicing psychology, Dr. Webb gradually started to see a factor from childhood which weighs upon people as adults. This factor is extremely subtle. In fact, it’s so difficult to see that it goes virtually unnoticed while it quietly saps a person’s joy in life, causing him or her to struggle with self-discipline, or to feel disconnected and unfulfilled. Dr. Webb gave a name to this invisible factor from childhood. She calls it Emotional Neglect.™
dr jonice webb and emotional neglect, november 1, 2012